Radix Registry Raked In Over $600000 in Premium New gTLD Domain Sales in the Last Quarter Alone

In
3Q-2016, Radix reported 406 premium
domains were registered or renewed,
generating $607,818 in
revenue for them. .Online
produced the lion’s share of that
income – $197,165
accounting for 37.5% of the
total. .Store was next at 19.8%,
followed by .tech with
15.9%
.  Five other
extensions were each in single
digits percentage wise. 

Their
annuity sales were by far the most
lucrative, producing 86% of
their $366,071 in new
premium domain registration fees vs.
14% for one-time sales (those
with a high price up front that
reverts to standard renewals fees
after that). Their top one-time
sales were 1.store at $30,000,
Bam.tech at $15,000
and Hello.store at $10,000.
Their annuity sales were led by
eight domains that cost $6,500
each
up front and require the same
amount
to be paid again each
year
as premium renewal fees.
Those domains were Reg.tech, Fire.host,
Project.space, Audible.store,
AWS.store, Showroom.store,
Bonds.store and Bot.store.

You
will find a lot more data on these
premium sales in this easy to read infographic.

Intel is Winning Over Blockchain Critics By Reimagining Bitcoin’s DNA

intel

With so much RD ongoing in the blockchain sector, it’s hard for any new tech to separate from the pack.

In addition to the sheer volume of designs for these new types of financial databases, separating the interesting ideas often requires ample peer review, testing and time. Still, this messy process hasn’t stopped tech giants like IBM and JP Morgan from conducting work that rivals the more well-known open-source creations like bitcoin and ethereum in aim and ambition.

While these contributions are grabbing headlines, however, praise across both open-source and enterprise communities has been rare.

Bucking this trend is Intel, which is winning support from even normally fickle technologists for its quieter, and some say, more innovative, approach to reimaging bitcoin’s tech for the enterprise.

One of the main contributors to this perception is proof-of-elapsed-time (PoET), a variation on the system that bitcoin uses to ensure that computers in the network agree about which transactions really took place, which it unveiled earlier this year. Perhaps better known to cryptographers, this high-tech tool solves the computing problem of “random leader election,” or selecting who will create the next block of transactions.

Despite the lack of attention it’s received, however, some veteran technologists consider PoET one of the more novel and radical proposals for how a blockchain network could achieve consensus.

Created by developers at Intel, PoET is notably designed to be used on a certain type of computer manufactured by the tech giant, called trusted execution environments (TEE).

On one hand, proponents argue that it’s a more environmentally friendly algorithm than bitcoin’s proof-of-work (PoW). On the other, many open-source developers are skeptical that could be widely used, since it requires trust in Intel.

Blockstream principal architect Christopher Allen, whose firm is a member of Hyperledger and one of the largest financial supports of bitcoin development, is one experienced observer that echoes this outlook.

Allen told CoinDesk:

“I’m actually not very impressed with Hyperledger Fabric and I think that Sawtooth Lake deserves more attention.”

Mix and match

One of the reasons Allen thinks so positively about Intel’s contribution is that it provides a variety of options and consensus algorithms, which he believes allow users to build a private blockchain to meets their needs.

“Sawtooth as a proof-of-concept demonstrates that you can have multiple consensus algorithms,” said Allen. “There’s no reason Sawtooth couldn’t do PoW or proof-of-stake.”

Allen mentioned that the working group has been discussing how to create the best architecture for allowing users to choose from a variety of consensus algorithms.

That’s where PoET comes in, as it’s one of the unique blockchain offerings that Sawtooth Lake makes available. Allen described it as a simulation of PoW that might be best used as an alternative for private blockchains.

Since it borrows from PoW’s Nakamoto-style consensus, PoET offers some benefits over Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance (PBFT), a type of consensus algorithm used by Hyperledger, Stellar and others, he said. For one, it scales to a larger number of nodes and is more reliable since it works when larger numbers of nodes aren’t available.

One downside is settlement finality: users need to wait for a certain number of blocks before they can be fairly certain that their transaction will be recorded.

But, despite these unique properties, another perspective is that PoET doesn’t make sense for either private or public blockchains.

“It’s way too easy to create multiple layers of obfuscation that ultimately don’t contribute to the underlying security model,” said Bitcoin Core contributor Bryan Bishop.

Trust in Intel

The main critique to emerge is that participants would need to use Intel hardware like SGX to execute code in a protected area that can’t be inspected or tampered with.

That’s how you “know” — in theory — that the blocks filled with transactions will be dispensed at a certain interval, and that those transactions are correct. And you know that it can’t be tampered because of cryptography involved.

“PoET uses this special processor capability to regulate block frequency rather than computation,” Sawtooth Lake project manager Dan Middleton said, explaining that by using the protected area of the chip, the code is executed as designed.

“This is what enables the return to one-cpu-one-vote,” he continued, echoing an idea invoked in Satoshi Nakamoto’s bitcoin white paper.

But as for comparisons to PoW, there are notable differences. While PoW enables a trustless system, Bishop called Intel’s approach “trust-maximizing”.

That’s why both Bishop and Allen are skeptical that the consensus algorithm can be used for a public blockchain, like bitcoin or ethereum.

“It’s like giving the keys to the kingdom to Intel,” as Bishop put it.

“The participants are saying, ‘We trust Intel to not cause inflation of the system or otherwise interfere, and we believe Intel would rather shutdown before it would comply with government orders to disrupt a system that uses SGX,'” he said.

Future possibilities

But while this probably isn’t good enough guarantee for decentralization advocates, this isn’t stopping Intel’s work from emerging as part of the conversation on the conference circuit.

Indeed, it may now be time for the wider market to assess how the idea could be evolved, for instance, for use on other processors.

As far as testing the protocol, a user doesn’t necessarily need to purchase a TEE. Middleton added that anyone interested in the protocol can now test how it commits blocks across a distributed network.

Allen contends that the use of TEE is why PoET isn’t currently as appealing as the more mature proof-of-work protocol, or maybe one day proof-of-stake, both protocols that enable participation via specific types of computer hardware.

But he agreed that if other hardware vendors implement the new algorithm, this could lead to other possibilities.

“It would be powerful to see a multi-vendor standard for PoET be created someday, for instance in the multi-vendor RISC-V consortium,” he said.

Like all ideas, it will be up to the market to decide. However, for now, it seems Intel’s work has passed one milestone, graduating to larger dicussion and consideration.

Interstellar image via Shutterstock

Bankingdistributed ledgerIntelProof-of-Work

Radix Registry Raked In Over $600000 in Premium New gTLD Domain Sales in the Last Quarter Alone

In
3Q-2016, Radix reported 406 premium
domains were registered or renewed,
generating $607,818 in
revenue for them. .Online
produced the lion’s share of that
income – $197,165
accounting for 37.5% of the
total. .Store was next at 19.8%,
followed by .tech with
15.9%
.  Five other
extensions were each in single
digits percentage wise. 

Their
annuity sales were by far the most
lucrative, producing 86% of
their $366,071 in new
premium domain registration fees vs.
14% for one-time sales (those
with a high price up front that
reverts to standard renewals fees
after that). Their top one-time
sales were 1.store at $30,000,
Bam.tech at $15,000
and Hello.store at $10,000.
Their annuity sales were led by
eight domains that cost $6,500
each
up front and require the same
amount
to be paid again each
year
as premium renewal fees.
Those domains were Reg.tech, Fire.host,
Project.space, Audible.store,
AWS.store, Showroom.store,
Bonds.store and Bot.store.

You
will find a lot more data on these
premium sales in this easy to read infographic.

Ubuntu-Based ExTiX OS Updated for Intel Compute Sticks with Improved Installer

GNU/Linux developer Arne Exton announced this past weekend the release of an updated build of his Ubuntu-based ExTiX Linux distribution for Intel Compute Stick devices.

Last month, we reported on the initial availability of a port of the ExTiX operating system for Intel Compute Sticks, boasting the lightweight and modern LXQt 0.10.0 desktop environment and powered by the latest Linux 4.8 kernel, tweaked by Arne Exton for Intel Atom processors.

And now, ExTiX Build 161203 is out as a drop-in replacement for Build 161119, bringing a much-improved Ubiquity graphics installer that should no longer crash, as several users who attempted to install the Ubuntu-based GNU/Linux distro on their Intel Compute Stick devices reported.

“Some errors in the first build have been corrected. Occasionally crashes of Ubiquity when running the previous version of ExTiX (from 161119) was the main reason for the new release, i.e. in Build 161203 Ubiquity (and everything else) would work as expected,” explains Arne Exton in the release announcement.

Still shipping with Linux kernel 4.8.0-26-exton-IntelAtom and LXQt 0.10.0

Another interesting change that landed in the ExTiX Build 161203 release is the addition of LXDE’s LXDM login manager, which replaces the SLiM (Simple Login Manager) display manager used in the previous version. Check out the screenshot gallery below to see how LXDM looks on ExTiX. Installation instructions and download links are provided by the developer here.

On the other hand, it looks like ExTiX Build 161203 is still shipping with Linux kernel 4.8.0-26-exton-IntelAtom and LXQt 0.10.0, despite the fact that Linux kernel 4.8.12 and LXQt 0.11.0 are out for some time now. We do hope that the developer decides to implement these more recent technologies on the ExTiX OS for Intel Compute Sticks.

Update: We’ve been informed by Arne Exton that the next ExTiX version for Intel Compute Sticks will include the upcoming Linux 4.9 kernel, which is the reason why he didn’t upgraded the kernel package this time to Linux kernel 4.8.12. Also, ExTiX will also have support for streaming HBO movies and TV shows in the Mozilla Firefox web browser.

ExTiX Build 161203 with LXQt 0.10.0

Buy Royal Mint gold using Bitcoin tech – via your Isa firm

The Mint is working with an American firm, CME Group, to develop and run the new service, which will also be available to fund managers and other third parties.

The Royal Mint does already offer gold trading services. Its gold can be held in Sipps (self-invested pensions) as of this year, although it is not an instant process.

Another Mint service, “Signature Gold”, allows investors to buy fractions of a gold bar stored in its vaults, again offering round-the-clock trading, for a 0.5pc annual management fee.

However, this is done via the Royal Mint’s website, not third-party investment shops.

Why is ‘Bitcoin’ technology involved?

For large-scale trading to be possible on multiple platforms, a secure digital record of ownership is needed. This is where the new technology (called “blockchain”) comes in.

Essentially, it is an online ledger of transactions, updated cryptographically, whose entries cannot be deleted or edited once added.

Copies of the ledger are shared over the internet by multiple parties. For the record of ownership to be lost, all copies would need to be deleted.

Charlie Morris, a multi-asset investment manager at Newscape Capital and an expert on gold trading, said: “What this technology can do is exist in an open world. I think firms such as BullionVault and GoldMoney are great, but their system works beautifully in a closed circuit. Provided that you trust the organisation, which people do, that’s fine.

“But with blockchain technology, someone can trade gold here and in Japan, with it sitting in the Royal Mint’s vaults, and you don’t both need accounts with the same provider.”

Cryptographic ownership records can be either public or private.

Radix Registry Raked In Over $600000 in Premium New gTLD Domain Sales in the Last Quarter Alone

In
3Q-2016, Radix reported 406 premium
domains were registered or renewed,
generating $607,818 in
revenue for them. .Online
produced the lion’s share of that
income – $197,165
accounting for 37.5% of the
total. .Store was next at 19.8%,
followed by .tech with
15.9%
.  Five other
extensions were each in single
digits percentage wise. 

Their
annuity sales were by far the most
lucrative, producing 86% of
their $366,071 in new
premium domain registration fees vs.
14% for one-time sales (those
with a high price up front that
reverts to standard renewals fees
after that). Their top one-time
sales were 1.store at $30,000,
Bam.tech at $15,000
and Hello.store at $10,000.
Their annuity sales were led by
eight domains that cost $6,500
each
up front and require the same
amount
to be paid again each
year
as premium renewal fees.
Those domains were Reg.tech, Fire.host,
Project.space, Audible.store,
AWS.store, Showroom.store,
Bonds.store and Bot.store.

You
will find a lot more data on these
premium sales in this easy to read infographic.

Linux Mint 18.1 ‘Serena’ BETA Ubuntu-based operating system now available for download

MintHands

Feeling fatigued by Windows 10 and its constant updates and privacy concerns? Can’t afford one of those beautiful new MacBook Pro laptops? Don’t forget, Linux-based desktop operating systems are just a free download away, folks!

If you do decide to jump on the open source bandwagon, a good place to start is Linux Mint. Both the Mate and Cinnamon desktop environments should prove familiar to Windows converts, and since it is based on Ubuntu, there are a ton of compatible packages. Today, the first beta of Linux Mint 18.1 ‘Serena’ becomes available for download.

Another great thing about Linux Mint is that it only uses LTS versions of Ubuntu for its base. This means it will be supported for a long time. Linux Mint founder Clement Lefebvre says, “Linux Mint 18.1 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2021. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop experience more comfortable to use”.

Lefebvre shares the following system requirements and recommendations.

  • 512MB RAM (1GB recommended for a comfortable usage).
  • 9GB of disk space (20GB recommended).
  • Graphics card capable of 800×600 resolution (1024×768 recommended).
  • DVD drive or USB port.

As always, it is not recommended to use an early Beta version of an operating system on a production machine. There are undoubtedly bugs in the software, which could lead to instability or data loss.

MintSerena

If you are ready to download the Linux Mint 18.1 Beta operating system, you can get it here. Before you do so, you should read the release notes for both the Cinnamon and Mate versions using the links below.

While a desktop environment is a personal preference, I would suggest opting for Cinnamon — it is arguably the more modern of the two. With that said, Mate is also a solid choice — it won’t hurt to try both.

Photo Credit: StepanPopov/Shutterstock

A 26-year old Bitcoin entrepreneur was handed prison time, and the experience only confirmed his belief in the …

charlie shrem

The rise of 26-year old Charlie Shrem was swift. So was his fall.  

The self-professed computer geek turned divisive digital currency entrepreneur won notoriety as the founder of BitInstant. The firm took off, attracting investors like the Winklevoss twins, and helping popularize bitcoin. 

Then, his whole world came crashing down. He was charged with operating an unlicensed money transmitting business. He pled guilty, and was given prison time. 

He had “knowingly transmitted money intended to facilitate criminal activity– specifically, drug trafficking on Silk Road,” according to a press release by the United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York.

Shrem got of prison earlier this year, and his experience there hasn’t deterred his faith in bitcoin and blockchain, the technology behind it. In fact, an incident with a prison guard and mackerels, the currency of choice in prison, only confirmed his belief in an alternative currency system. 

A computer geek

Shrem opened up about his prison experience and his past on Wall and Broadcast, a podcast hosted by TABB Group COO Alex Tabb, TABBForum producer Anna Stumpf and Vested CEO Dan Simon.

Raised in a deeply religious orthodox Jewish household, Shrem describes himself as an “outcast” at Yeshiva high school. “I just loved computers,” he said in the podcast. “I would hang out in the internet chat rooms and all of the places where all socially awkward people hang out.” 

Shrem first heard about the concept of Bitcoin from a friend in an internet forum he was a part of.  “There was no website or anything,” he said in the podcast. “Only a white paper,” referring to the research paper released under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakimoto that unveiled the concept. 

Bitcoin is a digital currency in which transactions occur peer-to-peer, meaning no government or third party is involved. Shrem was immediately interested and purchased a few thousand bitcoin – at the time worth very little. 

Austrian parliamentHe caught the entrepreneurial bug early, founding Daily Checkout, a daily deal website that sold refurbished used goods, at 18. He also attended night school at Brooklyn College and got introduced to the Austrian School of Economics, an economic theory that promotes laissez-faire ideals and the elimination of government intervention. 

In his mind, something clicked. “I realized that bitcoin was taking all of that Austrian economic theory and putting it into practice,” he said in the podcast. 

It was on Bitcointalk.org that he got the idea for a way to make the purchasing of bitcoin faster and more accessible to the every day consumer. He launched BitInstant, which partnered with payment processors that had physical locations at CVS, Duane Reade, Walmart, Walgreens and 7-11, among others. The site allowed people to buy small amounts of bitcoin (with an average ticket size of $300-500) and charged customers a small fee for each transaction.

“Within a few months, we enabled people to be able to buy bitcoin at almost a million locations in the US,” Shrem said in the podcast. “And overnight volume exploded.”

The company achieved an average growth rate of 1.5x per month, according to Shrem, with advertising limited to word of mouth. At one point, the company was facilitating transactions worth a million dollars a day, he said.

The growth of BitInstant attracted investors like the Winklevoss twins and angel investor Roger Vere. They moved into bigger offices, shrouded in secrecy. “We needed an army security guard, our own floor, and shaded windows,” he said.

Soon the two man band become a 30 person office, and he admits in the podcast interview that he let the success get to his head.

Entrepeneurs Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss arrive at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala (Met Gala) to celebrate the opening of “I started drinking too much,” he said. “I invested in my friend’s nightclub. In fact, I lived upstairs in the nightclub.”

The fall of BitInstant was just as quick as its rise.

The fall of BitInstant

In March 2013, regulators enforced a ruling that outlined what type of companies were now considered money transmitters.  

Suddenly, BitInstant was operating without a license. “We couldn’t take the risk of operating illegally,” Shrem said in the podcast,  “so we shut down…It was heartbreaking.” 

Eight months later, Shrem travelled to Amsterdam to speak at a conference. It was when he returned to JFK airport that he was confronted by a dozen law enforcement officials, a joint task force of the FBI, IRS, DEA and other officials, he said in the podcast. 

Shrem had knowingly facilitated transactions to a re-seller, Robert Faiella, whose customers were using the Silk Road, an underground bitcoin only marketplace where people buy and sell illegal drugs. The re-seller was also trying to deposit more money than the new money transmitter laws allowed for, and these transactions were done behind the scenes to get around reporting requirements.

On September 4 2014, Faiella and Shrem both pled guilty in connection with the sale of approximately $1 million in bitcoins for use on the Silk Road website.

 “Robert Faiella and Charlie Shrem opted to travel down a crooked path – running an illegal money transmitting business that catered to criminals bent on trafficking narcotics on the dark web drug site, Silk Road,” Prett Bharara, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement at the time. 

Shrem, who was also Chief Compliance Officer of BitInstant and thus in charge of compliance with federal anti-money laundering (AML) laws, was fully aware that Silk Road was a drug-trafficking website and that he was operating a Bitcoin exchange service for Silk Road users.

Nevertheless, he “knowingly facilitated Faiella’s business with the company in order to maintain Faiella’s business as a lucrative source of revenue, ” according to the court report.

“Even though it was Shrem’s job to enforce the Company’s AML restrictions…[he] failed to file a single suspicious activity report with the US Treasury Department about Faiella’s illicit activity…and deliberately helped Failla circumvent the Company’s AML restrictions.”

Shrem knew what he was doing, he said in the podcast, and he admits his guilt.

prison

Digitizing the Prison Economy

Prison “was no country club, but it wasn’t Rikers Island either,” he explained in the podcast.  

One out of every ten prisoners were white collar criminals – a state senator, a judge, and a few law enforcement officials were among his group. They were all nonviolent offenders so the fear wasn’t as great as in maximum security persons. 

That’s not to say it was easy settling in. 

“Everything here is word of mouth,” he said in the podcast. “There is no Google, information is trickling in. I think the hardest part is learning to use my own resources to grow, and not the internet.” 

On the outside, he had this Bitcoin celebrity status, he said, and in the prison, nobody knew him nor did they care about him. “I needed to humble myself.”  

Of particular fascination to Shrem was the prison currency system, which involved bartering mackerels. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, there has been a mackerel economy in federal prisons since about 2004, when federal prisons prohibited smoking and, by default, the cigarette pack, which was the earlier gold standard. Prisoners need a proxy for the dollar because they’re not allowed to possess cash.

Every inmate can only buy 14 mackerels per week, said Shrem, so there is a certain number in circulation in the prison. Also, not all mackerels are created equal. The fish expire after about 3 years, after which their value depreciates. Expired mackerels, referred to as “money macks,” retain 75% of the value of the “eating macks,” or non-expired fish, explained Shrem. There were currency exchanges between the two, and everything had two prices in the prison. 

One day, a large number of mackerels were confiscated by prison guards and left out for any prisoner to take. Overnight, the guards essentially introduced hyperinflation, said Shrem, and flooded the market. They lost all of their value.

 

This got Shrem thinking. He started to think about the value of digitizing the prison economy and putting it on the blockchain. 

If there was a shared, distributed ledger among say a dozen inmates,  everyone would have a real-time record of all transactions that occurred in the prison. All members would have to verify and validate a transaction to make sure it was legitimate before taking place.

“Everyone has a financial incentive to make sure the system maintains its integrity,” said Shrem. 

The experience reminded him of how blockchain could not only be useful, but also necessary – not only in the financial services world, but in the prison world. “It avoids the guards having power over the value of the mackerel. 

Shrem’s belief in the power of the bitcoin blockchain and the elimination of the middleman continues.  He sees the digital currency as a “great equalizer” and believes that bitcoin will do to money what email did to the postal service. “It will allow everyone to be equal.” 

Despite Shrem’s optimism, the hype around Bitcoin seems to have died down from initial levels. Now, the investment and the excitement seems to be focused on the blockchain, the technology behind bitcoin.

Digital currencies have also been challenged by recent security issues. In August, hackers stole $72 million worth of bitcoin from accounts at the Hong Kong cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex. And in June, hackers stole $55 million worth of ether, a bitcoin rival. The nonprofit that runs ether, Ethereum Foundation, just rolled back the chain. It’s as if the hack never took place, and business returned to normal. But that worries purists like Shrem. 

He continues to be a staunch believer in the integrity of the blockchain and denounces Ethererum’s decision to roll back the chain, even though he said he is friends with the founder.   “Once you change the ledger for one specific reason, then you’ve already set the precedent.” 

“I used to be a bitcoin maximalist, thinking bitcoin is the one and only blockchain,” he said to Wall Broadcast. “Now I believe that alternate chains can and do exist.” 

Radix Registry Raked In Over $600000 in Premium New gTLD Domain Sales in the Last Quarter Alone

In
3Q-2016, Radix reported 406 premium
domains were registered or renewed,
generating $607,818 in
revenue for them. .Online
produced the lion’s share of that
income – $197,165
accounting for 37.5% of the
total. .Store was next at 19.8%,
followed by .tech with
15.9%
.  Five other
extensions were each in single
digits percentage wise. 

Their
annuity sales were by far the most
lucrative, producing 86% of
their $366,071 in new
premium domain registration fees vs.
14% for one-time sales (those
with a high price up front that
reverts to standard renewals fees
after that). Their top one-time
sales were 1.store at $30,000,
Bam.tech at $15,000
and Hello.store at $10,000.
Their annuity sales were led by
eight domains that cost $6,500
each
up front and require the same
amount
to be paid again each
year
as premium renewal fees.
Those domains were Reg.tech, Fire.host,
Project.space, Audible.store,
AWS.store, Showroom.store,
Bonds.store and Bot.store.

You
will find a lot more data on these
premium sales in this easy to read infographic.

Linux Mint 18.1 ‘Serena’ BETA Ubuntu-based operating system now …

MintHands

Feeling fatigued by Windows 10 and its constant updates and privacy concerns? Can’t afford one of those beautiful new MacBook Pro laptops? Don’t forget, Linux-based desktop operating systems are just a free download away, folks!

If you do decide to jump on the open source bandwagon, a good place to start is Linux Mint. Both the Mate and Cinnamon desktop environments should prove familiar to Windows converts, and since it is based on Ubuntu, there are a ton of compatible packages. Today, the first beta of Linux Mint 18.1 ‘Serena’ becomes available for download.

Another great thing about Linux Mint is that it only uses LTS versions of Ubuntu for its base. This means it will be supported for a long time. Linux Mint founder Clement Lefebvre says, “Linux Mint 18.1 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2021. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop experience more comfortable to use”.

Lefebvre shares the following system requirements and recommendations.

  • 512MB RAM (1GB recommended for a comfortable usage).
  • 9GB of disk space (20GB recommended).
  • Graphics card capable of 800×600 resolution (1024×768 recommended).
  • DVD drive or USB port.

As always, it is not recommended to use an early Beta version of an operating system on a production machine. There are undoubtedly bugs in the software, which could lead to instability or data loss.

MintSerena

If you are ready to download the Linux Mint 18.1 Beta operating system, you can get it here. Before you do so, you should read the release notes for both the Cinnamon and Mate versions using the links below.

While a desktop environment is a personal preference, I would suggest opting for Cinnamon — it is arguably the more modern of the two. With that said, Mate is also a solid choice — it won’t hurt to try both.

Photo Credit: StepanPopov/Shutterstock

A 26-year old Bitcoin entrepreneur was handed prison time, and the experience only confirmed his belief in the …


charlie shremWikimedia

The rise of 26-year old Charlie Shrem was swift. So was his
fall.  

The self-professed computer geek turned divisive digital
currency entrepreneur won notoriety as the founder
of BitInstant. The firm took off, attracting investors like
the
Winklevoss twins
, and helping popularize bitcoin. 

Then, his whole world came crashing down. He was charged with
operating an unlicensed money transmitting business. He pled
guilty, and was given prison time. 

He had “knowingly transmitted money intended to facilitate
criminal activity– specifically, drug trafficking on Silk
Road,” according to a
press release by the United States Attorney’s Office, Southern
District of New York
.

Shrem got of prison earlier this year, and his experience
there hasn’t deterred his faith in bitcoin and blockchain, the
technology behind it. In fact, an incident with a prison guard
and mackerels, the currency of choice in prison, only
confirmed his belief in an alternative currency
system. 

A computer geek

Shrem opened up about his prison experience and his past
on 

Wall
and Broadcast

, a 
podcast hosted
by

TABB Group COO Alex
Tabb, TABBForum producer Anna
Stumpf
 and

Vested CEO Dan
Simon.

Raised in a deeply religious orthodox Jewish household, Shrem
describes himself as an “outcast” at Yeshiva high school. “I just
loved computers,” he said in the podcast. “I would hang out in
the internet chat rooms and all of the places where all socially
awkward people hang out.” 

Shrem first heard about the concept of Bitcoin from a friend
in an internet forum he was a part of.  “There was no
website or anything,” he said in the podcast. “Only a white
paper,” referring to the research paper released under the
pseudonym Satoshi Nakimoto that unveiled the concept. 

Bitcoin is a digital currency in which transactions occur
peer-to-peer, meaning no government or third party is
involved.
 Shrem was immediately interested and
purchased a few thousand bitcoin – at the time worth very
little. 


Austrian parliament
Flickr/Kosala
Bandara


He caught the entrepreneurial bug early,
founding Daily Checkout, a daily deal website that sold
refurbished used goods, at 18. He also attended night school at
Brooklyn College and got introduced to the Austrian School of
Economics, an economic theory that promotes laissez-faire
ideals and the elimination of government
intervention. 

In his mind, something clicked. “I realized that bitcoin
was taking all of that Austrian economic theory and putting it
into practice,” he said in the podcast. 

It was on Bitcointalk.org that he got the idea for a way to
make the purchasing of bitcoin faster and more accessible to the
every day consumer. He launched 

BitInstant,
which partnered with payment processors that had physical
locations at CVS, Duane Reade, Walmart, Walgreens and 7-11, among
others. The site allowed people to buy small amounts of bitcoin
(with an average ticket size of $300-500) and charged customers a
small fee for each transaction.

“Within a few months, we enabled people to be able to buy
bitcoin at almost a million locations in the US,” Shrem said in
the podcast. “And overnight volume exploded.”

The company achieved an average growth rate of 1.5x
per month, according to Shrem, with advertising limited to
word of mouth. 

At one point, the company was
facilitating transactions worth a million dollars a
day, he said.

The growth of BitInstant attracted investors like
the Winklevoss
twins
 and angel investor Roger Vere. They moved into
bigger offices, shrouded in secrecy. “

We needed an
army security guard, our own floor, and shaded windows,” he
said.

Soon the two man band become a 30 person office, and he
admits in the podcast interview that he let the success get to
his head.


Entrepeneurs Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss arrive at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala (Met Gala) to celebrate the opening of
Entrepreneurs
Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss arrive at the Met Gala in New
York

Thomson
Reuters


“I started drinking too much,” he said. “I invested in my
friend’s nightclub. In fact, I lived upstairs in the nightclub.”

The fall of BitInstant was just as quick as its
rise.

The fall of BitInstant

In March 2013, regulators enforced a ruling that outlined
what type of companies were now considered money transmitters.
 

Suddenly, BitInstant was operating without a license. “We
couldn’t take the risk of operating illegally,” Shrem said
in the podcast,  “so we shut down…It was
heartbreaking.” 

Eight months later, Shrem travelled to Amsterdam to
speak at a conference. It was when he returned to 
JFK
airport that he was confronted by a dozen law enforcement
officials, a joint task force of the FBI, IRS, DEA and other
officials, he said in the podcast. 

Shrem had knowingly facilitated transactions to a
re-seller, Robert Faiella, whose customers were using the Silk
Road, an underground bitcoin only marketplace where people buy
and sell illegal drugs. The re-seller was also trying to
deposit more money than the new money transmitter laws allowed
for, and these transactions were done behind the scenes to get
around reporting requirements.

On September 4 2014, Faiella and Shrem both pled guilty in
connection with the sale of approximately $1 million in bitcoins
for use on the Silk Road website.

 “Robert Faiella and Charlie Shrem opted to travel
down a crooked path – running an illegal money transmitting
business that catered to criminals bent on trafficking narcotics
on the dark web drug site, Silk Road,” Prett
Bharara, United States Attorney for the
Southern District of New York, said in a statement at the
time. 

Shrem, who was also Chief Compliance Officer of BitInstant
and thus in charge of compliance with federal anti-money
laundering (AML) laws, was fully aware that Silk Road was a
drug-trafficking website and

 that he was
operating a Bitcoin exchange service for Silk Road users.

Nevertheless, he “knowingly facilitated Faiella’s business
with the company in order to maintain Faiella’s business as a
lucrative source of revenue, ” according to the court
report.

“Even though it was Shrem’s job to enforce the Company’s
AML restrictions…[he] failed to file a single suspicious
activity report with the US Treasury Department about Faiella’s
illicit activity…and deliberately helped Failla circumvent the
Company’s AML restrictions.”

Shrem knew what he was doing, he said in the
podcast, and he admits his guilt.



prison
Forsaken
Fotos/flickr




Digitizing the Prison Economy

Prison “was no country club, but it wasn’t Rikers Island
either,” he explained in the podcast.  

One out of every ten prisoners were white collar criminals
– a state senator, a judge, and a few law enforcement officials
were among his group. They were all nonviolent offenders so the
fear wasn’t as great as in maximum security persons. 

That’s not to say it was easy settling in. 

“Everything here is word of mouth,” he said in the podcast.
“There is no Google, information is trickling in. I think the
hardest part is learning to use my own resources to grow, and not
the internet.” 

On the outside, he had this Bitcoin celebrity status,
he said, and in the prison, nobody knew him nor did they care
about him. “I needed to humble myself.”  

Of particular fascination to Shrem was the prison
currency system, which involved bartering mackerels. According to
an article in the
Wall Street Journal
, there has been a mackerel
economy in federal prisons since about 2004, when federal prisons
prohibited smoking and, by default, the cigarette pack, which was
the earlier gold standard. Prisoners need a proxy for the

dollar because they’re not allowed to possess cash.

Every inmate can only buy 14 mackerels per week, said Shrem, so
there is a certain number in circulation in the prison. Also, not
all mackerels are created equal. The fish expire after about 3
years, after which their value depreciates. Expired mackerels,
referred to as “money macks,” retain 75% of the value of the
“eating macks,” or non-expired fish, explained Shrem. There were
currency exchanges between the two, and everything had two prices
in the prison. 


mackerel fish
Wikimedia
Commons


One day, a large number of mackerels were confiscated by prison
guards and left out for any prisoner to take. Overnight, the
guards essentially introduced hyperinflation, said Shrem, and
flooded the market. They lost all of their value. 

This got Shrem thinking. He started to think about the
value of digitizing the prison economy and putting it
on the blockchain. 

If there was a shared, distributed ledger among say
a

 dozen inmates,  everyone would have a
real-time record of all transactions that occurred in the prison.
All members would have to verify and validate a transaction to
make sure it was legitimate before taking place.

“Everyone has a financial incentive to make sure the system
maintains its integrity,” said Shrem. 

The experience reminded him of how blockchain could not
only be useful, but also necessary – not only in the financial
services world, but in the prison world.
“It

 avoids the guards having power over the
value of the mackerel. 

Shrem’s belief in the power of the bitcoin blockchain and
the elimination of the middleman continues.  He sees the
digital currency as a “great equalizer” and believes that
b

itcoin will do to money what email did to the
postal service. “It will allow everyone to be
equal.” 

Despite Shrem’s optimism, the hype around Bitcoin seems to
have died down from initial levels. Now, the investment and
the excitement 

seems to be focused on the
blockchain,
the technology behind bitcoin.

Digital currencies have also been challenged by recent
security issues. 
In August, hackers stole $72 million
worth of bitcoin from accounts at the Hong Kong cryptocurrency
exchange Bitfinex. And in June, hackers stole $55 million worth
of ether, a bitcoin rival. The nonprofit that runs ether,
Ethereum Foundation, just rolled back the chain. It’s as if the
hack never took place, and business returned to normal. But that
worries purists like Shrem. 

He continues to be a staunch believer in the integrity of
the blockchain and denounces Ethererum’s decision to roll back
the chain, even though he said he is friends with the founder.
  

“Once you change the ledger for one
specific reason, then you’ve already set the
precedent.” 

“I used to be a bitcoin maximalist, thinking bitcoin is the one
and only blockchain,” he said to Wall Broadcast. “Now I
believe that alternate chains can and do exist.” 

Radix Registry Raked In Over $600000 in Premium New gTLD Domain Sales in the Last Quarter Alone

In
3Q-2016, Radix reported 406 premium
domains were registered or renewed,
generating $607,818 in
revenue for them. .Online
produced the lion’s share of that
income – $197,165
accounting for 37.5% of the
total. .Store was next at 19.8%,
followed by .tech with
15.9%
.  Five other
extensions were each in single
digits percentage wise. 

Their
annuity sales were by far the most
lucrative, producing 86% of
their $366,071 in new
premium domain registration fees vs.
14% for one-time sales (those
with a high price up front that
reverts to standard renewals fees
after that). Their top one-time
sales were 1.store at $30,000,
Bam.tech at $15,000
and Hello.store at $10,000.
Their annuity sales were led by
eight domains that cost $6,500
each
up front and require the same
amount
to be paid again each
year
as premium renewal fees.
Those domains were Reg.tech, Fire.host,
Project.space, Audible.store,
AWS.store, Showroom.store,
Bonds.store and Bot.store.

You
will find a lot more data on these
premium sales in this easy to read infographic.

Linux Mint 18.1 ‘Serena’ BETA Ubuntu-based operating system now …

MintHands

Feeling fatigued by Windows 10 and its constant updates and privacy concerns? Can’t afford one of those beautiful new MacBook Pro laptops? Don’t forget, Linux-based desktop operating systems are just a free download away, folks!

If you do decide to jump on the open source bandwagon, a good place to start is Linux Mint. Both the Mate and Cinnamon desktop environments should prove familiar to Windows converts, and since it is based on Ubuntu, there are a ton of compatible packages. Today, the first beta of Linux Mint 18.1 ‘Serena’ becomes available for download.

Another great thing about Linux Mint is that it only uses LTS versions of Ubuntu for its base. This means it will be supported for a long time. Linux Mint founder Clement Lefebvre says, “Linux Mint 18.1 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2021. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop experience more comfortable to use”.

Lefebvre shares the following system requirements and recommendations.

  • 512MB RAM (1GB recommended for a comfortable usage).
  • 9GB of disk space (20GB recommended).
  • Graphics card capable of 800×600 resolution (1024×768 recommended).
  • DVD drive or USB port.

As always, it is not recommended to use an early Beta version of an operating system on a production machine. There are undoubtedly bugs in the software, which could lead to instability or data loss.

MintSerena

If you are ready to download the Linux Mint 18.1 Beta operating system, you can get it here. Before you do so, you should read the release notes for both the Cinnamon and Mate versions using the links below.

While a desktop environment is a personal preference, I would suggest opting for Cinnamon — it is arguably the more modern of the two. With that said, Mate is also a solid choice — it won’t hurt to try both.

Photo Credit: StepanPopov/Shutterstock

Bitcoin price climbs to highest level in nearly 3 years

Bitcoin traders are finally moving past the collapse of Tokyo-based digital-currency exchange Mt. Gox.

The price of a single bitcoin

US:BTCUSD

touched $777 on Friday, its strongest level since February 2014, when reports that hackers had stolen millions of dollars’ worth of customers’ bitcoins from Mt. Gox, formerly one of the world’s largest bitcoin exchanges, sent prices plunging.

Coin Market Cap

Charles Hayter, founder and chief executive officer of Cryptocompare, which provides data and analytics about the digital-currency market, said this most recent price run-up is likely due to a combination of factors: President-elect Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election, China’s continuing devaluation of the yuan and worries that Italians might vote “no” in Sunday’s referendum.

Optimism about a coming software upgrade could also be a factor, Hayter said.

What is the future of bitcoin?

(2:59)

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss run a bitcoin exchange on which investors trade on average $1 million in bitcoin per day. But is this cryptocurrency safe or a fad?

Finally, elevated trading volumes in India suggest that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to scrap the country’s 500- and 1,000-rupee notes have also contributed to the increase, Hayter said.

The Mt. Gox hack, which forced the exchange into bankruptcy, raised concerns about lax security in the unregulated digital-currency space, effectively ending an era of exuberance that had sent the price of a single coin to an all-time high near $1,200 just months before.

Bitcoin prices have been steadily rising all year, with investors pointing to the softening Chinese yuan

USDCNY, +0.0000%

 as the primary culprit.

November 2016: gTLD Sunrise Periods Now Open

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Under certain state laws the following statements may be required on this website and we have included them in order to be in full compliance with these rules. The choice of a lawyer or other professional is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Attorney Advertising Notice: Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Statement in compliance with Texas Rules of Professional Conduct. Unless otherwise noted, attorneys are not certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, nor can NLR attest to the accuracy of any notation of Legal Specialization or other Professional Credentials.

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Linux Mint 18.1 ‘Serena’ BETA Ubuntu-based operating system now …

MintHands

Feeling fatigued by Windows 10 and its constant updates and privacy concerns? Can’t afford one of those beautiful new MacBook Pro laptops? Don’t forget, Linux-based desktop operating systems are just a free download away, folks!

If you do decide to jump on the open source bandwagon, a good place to start is Linux Mint. Both the Mate and Cinnamon desktop environments should prove familiar to Windows converts, and since it is based on Ubuntu, there are a ton of compatible packages. Today, the first beta of Linux Mint 18.1 ‘Serena’ becomes available for download.

Another great thing about Linux Mint is that it only uses LTS versions of Ubuntu for its base. This means it will be supported for a long time. Linux Mint founder Clement Lefebvre says, “Linux Mint 18.1 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2021. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop experience more comfortable to use”.

Lefebvre shares the following system requirements and recommendations.

  • 512MB RAM (1GB recommended for a comfortable usage).
  • 9GB of disk space (20GB recommended).
  • Graphics card capable of 800×600 resolution (1024×768 recommended).
  • DVD drive or USB port.

As always, it is not recommended to use an early Beta version of an operating system on a production machine. There are undoubtedly bugs in the software, which could lead to instability or data loss.

MintSerena

If you are ready to download the Linux Mint 18.1 Beta operating system, you can get it here. Before you do so, you should read the release notes for both the Cinnamon and Mate versions using the links below.

While a desktop environment is a personal preference, I would suggest opting for Cinnamon — it is arguably the more modern of the two. With that said, Mate is also a solid choice — it won’t hurt to try both.

Photo Credit: StepanPopov/Shutterstock

Court Rules IRS Can Seek Information on Bitcoin Customers

A federal court on Wednesday ruled that the Internal Revenue Service can serve digital-currency-services company Coinbase with a “John Doe summons” that seeks detailed information on its customers’ transactions from 2013 to 2015.

The IRS and the Justice Department are looking for information about the use of the digital currency bitcoin and the possibility that it has been used to evade federal tax laws over the three-year period….

Radix Registry Raked In Over $600000 in Premium New gTLD Domain Sales in the Last Quarter Alone

In
3Q-2016, Radix reported 406 premium
domains were registered or renewed,
generating $607,818 in
revenue for them. .Online
produced the lion’s share of that
income – $197,165
accounting for 37.5% of the
total. .Store was next at 19.8%,
followed by .tech with
15.9%
.  Five other
extensions were each in single
digits percentage wise. 

Their
annuity sales were by far the most
lucrative, producing 86% of
their $366,071 in new
premium domain registration fees vs.
14% for one-time sales (those
with a high price up front that
reverts to standard renewals fees
after that). Their top one-time
sales were 1.store at $30,000,
Bam.tech at $15,000
and Hello.store at $10,000.
Their annuity sales were led by
eight domains that cost $6,500
each
up front and require the same
amount
to be paid again each
year
as premium renewal fees.
Those domains were Reg.tech, Fire.host,
Project.space, Audible.store,
AWS.store, Showroom.store,
Bonds.store and Bot.store.

You
will find a lot more data on these
premium sales in this easy to read infographic.

Linux Mint 18.1 ‘Serena’ BETA Ubuntu-based operating system now available for download

MintHands

Feeling fatigued by Windows 10 and its constant updates and privacy concerns? Can’t afford one of those beautiful new MacBook Pro laptops? Don’t forget, Linux-based desktop operating systems are just a free download away, folks!

If you do decide to jump on the open source bandwagon, a good place to start is Linux Mint. Both the Mate and Cinnamon desktop environments should prove familiar to Windows converts, and since it is based on Ubuntu, there are a ton of compatible packages. Today, the first beta of Linux Mint 18.1 ‘Serena’ becomes available for download.

Another great thing about Linux Mint is that it only uses LTS versions of Ubuntu for its base. This means it will be supported for a long time. Linux Mint founder Clement Lefebvre says, “Linux Mint 18.1 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2021. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop experience more comfortable to use”.

Lefebvre shares the following system requirements and recommendations.

  • 512MB RAM (1GB recommended for a comfortable usage).
  • 9GB of disk space (20GB recommended).
  • Graphics card capable of 800×600 resolution (1024×768 recommended).
  • DVD drive or USB port.

As always, it is not recommended to use an early Beta version of an operating system on a production machine. There are undoubtedly bugs in the software, which could lead to instability or data loss.

MintSerena

If you are ready to download the Linux Mint 18.1 Beta operating system, you can get it here. Before you do so, you should read the release notes for both the Cinnamon and Mate versions using the links below.

While a desktop environment is a personal preference, I would suggest opting for Cinnamon — it is arguably the more modern of the two. With that said, Mate is also a solid choice — it won’t hurt to try both.

Photo Credit: StepanPopov/Shutterstock